Cuban Crafts for Kids

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Combine a history lesson on Cuba with crafts related to the island nation.
Combine a history lesson on Cuba with crafts related to the island nation. (Image: cactus-cuba image by Norberto Lauria from Fotolia.com)

When brainstorming ideas for your children's next craft project, go the route of combining the arts with a history lesson or two. Put the focus on the country of Cuba, an island known for its sugar cane and tropical climate. With a few simple craft supplies and some items found around the house, kids can create crafts that represent the traditions and culture of Cuba while learning about this storied Caribbean island.

Tody Bird

The Tody bird is a Cuban native, with bright green coloring, a deep red throat patch and a long beak. This rainbow coloring makes it an attractive choice for children's projects. Kids can paint pictures of the Tody or craft one themselves out of feathers, foam and pom poms. Since the Tody's natural habitat is rotten logs, wood and sand embankments, kids can easily create craft "homes" for their new birds as well, using playground sand (or craft sand), twigs and branches they find around the yard, along with some wood painted dark brown.

Bandanna

Kids can learn the history and symbolism of the Cuban flag while they work on an easy bandanna craft. Purchase plain white or canvas bandannas, then gather red and blue paint or markers. Draw an outline of the flag's triangle and five thick stripes with pencil (or use masking tape to mark off the sections), then have the kids fill in the areas with paint. Explain that the red of the triangle represents the blood Cubans shed in pursuit of their freedom from Spain, the three blue stripes represent the country's original provinces and the two inner stripes represent the purity and justice of the liberation movement. The kids can either wear the bandannas or hang them as decorations.

Sugar Cube Necklace

Sugar has been iconically linked to Cuba since its heavy production began in the 19th century, but it was a product of the country long before that. Celebrate the island's sugar roots with a decorative sugar cube necklace craft. First, have the kids dye sugar cubes in colorful hues; they can use food coloring to match their favorite colors or outfits, sports team colors, school colors or even a rainbow. Drop the cubes into the dye, then set them to dry on paper towels. Paint the dry colored cubes with polyurethane or clear nail polish to protect them and make sure they're solid, then thread a needle with fishing wire and poke it through each cube to string a necklace. Kids can create designs by alternating sugar cubes and beads; They can also paint the letters of their names onto the cubes, one letter per cube, to create a name necklace

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